***Tissue alert*** I've never met Miski in person, but through her interview I've decided I really want to be friends with her! She has some amazing stories to tell - I just feel it. Miski, thank you so much for taking the time to share some of you with us!
Hi! To start off, please tell us your name, where you’re from, and what you write.
Hi. I’m Miski Harris and I reside in Maryland. I currently write M/M romance. My main characters have a military background.
How did you become an author? Please share a bit of your journey with us.
I started writing before I knew how to spell. Laughing Seriously though, When I was a child, I used to write stories in marble composition books and up into my teen years had my own little library of sorts. One of them, the story of a girl who became a medical wizard and cured her ailing mother, made my mother cry when she read it. I used to dream that one day I would become a famous writer and hire a doctor who could cure my mom. I did become a nurse, but my mom was already gone.
When my mom died, someone took all my books and threw them in a barrel with the rest of our belongings, and they were destroyed. I stopped collecting the notebook stories, but the dream stayed with me until I began to befriend, advise and beta for a few authors who encouraged me to give it a shot.
My greatest boost came from Amy Wasp. There were quite a few people who encouraged me to write but Amy became fully invested in my achievement. She would cheer me on, chide me when I was being lazy and provided me with a wealth of tools that helped bring me from idea board to production.
What are you working on now? Do you have a recent or upcoming release?
My Inaugural release was Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. It’s the story of a young man who went into the military while it was still criminal to be gay or lesbian. His military career was very successful. His personal choices? Not so much. As a result, his lover, facing promotion, threw him under the bus. EJ, has one of two choices; accept honorable discharge or remain in the force and find himself in a garden spot like Greenland. He returns home to work out his decision and finds love, retribution and restoration.
My WIP is called Collateral Damage. It’s the story of Jordon Washington, a character we first meet in Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Jordan has been through hell and back and is now trying to put his life back together after the death of his life partner and intended husband. In this story I bring in a character from Amy Wasps’ Veteran’s Affairs series – Ron. Ron has done amazing work with veterans with PTSD. He and Jordan are brought together in the hopes he can help Jordan. Ron meets Jordan and his heart starts beating for the first time. There is something stopping Ron though other than the obvious immediate issues. He too is a veteran and has a past, one which is the reason he has been living semi-secluded in the Rocky Mountain foot hills. This is also a story of recovery, redemption and restoration. I am hoping to release it by the end of the year.
What is the most challenging part of writing romantic suspense?
Making the story believable. Even though the stories are fiction, readers want to be drawn into the story and be able to visualize the events like they were front page news. That takes a lot of research. For example, for my current work in progress I actually visited the places in the Rocky Mountain foothills, the city of Valentine and Fort Collins that my main character will be going to.
What kind of research do you do when you set out to write a new book?
Site visits when practical, interviews with subject experts, tons and tons of internet research. For my current works personal history and knowledge come into play.
Do you have any work experience involving the elements of romantic suspense (such as working in law enforcement or in the military)?
I am an Air Force Disabled Veteran. My first taste of the military attitude toward homosexuality came during basic training, when a heterosexual girl in my flight confessed to being a lesbian so she could invalidate her enlistment and go home. Overnight they treated that girl like typhoid Mary. I was interviewed for over an hour as to whether or not I (the Dorm Chief) witnessed any “kinky, mannish” mannerisms from her. My Flight Chief didn’t believe her story, but she wouldn’t retract her claim. She was still there when we graduated and moved on. I returned to the same base after technical training school and she was just then out processing.
To be clear, because I know this is a thing sometimes. I am heterosexual. I have, throughout my enlistment and life developed friendships and relationships with people whose stories, my own included, are represented in my inaugural work, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Military service isn’t easy. Back then if you were different in any way it was tougher yet. I have a whole different level of respect for those men and women with whom I served as I shared and kept their secrets. I hope I have done them proud with my book.
Who is a person you greatly admire and why?
My late aunt. She was my best friend and my biggest supporter, and she was an out and proud lesbian in the 50’s and 60’s when it was so much harder than it is today. She was the first person to tell me it’s not what people call you but what you answer to that matters. I am biracial and in those days, life was tough due to racial discord. She taught me to always be proud of who I am and what I do, not by telling but by showing me pride in action. I like to think she is very proud of the woman I’ve become. I know she would be proud that I finally went back to my writing.
Tell us about your name.
People often ask, "Why Miski?" It matches the meaning of the name my father and grandmother used that remains familial and unshared. Miski means, you have a psychic power. You can carry on for others with joy. You have a receptive nature and may bear burdens for others. You are pragmatic, thorough, strong-willed, practical and stubborn at times. you are hardworking, often a martyr to duty. You are very intuitive. You are always looking for an opportunity to investigate the unknown, to use and show your mental abilities, to find the purpose and meaning of life. You have a unique way of thinking: intuitive, reflective, absorbing.
Please share one piece of advice to aspiring authors - what do you wish someone would have told you? Or, what did someone tell you that you’d like to pass on to others?
Write, write, write. Write the kind of books you like to read instead of trying to keep up with what you think is trending. Do your research. Short cuts may sucky books and readers aren’t fooled. End the book when its over. Don’t try padding words for a larger count. The best investment you will make is in a great editor. They will keep you out of trouble.
And now for some fun - speed round!
City, suburb, or small-town?
Small town in the suburbs.
Dark chocolate, light chocolate, or white chocolate?
Definitely dark chocolate.
Alpha, beta, or both?
Wine, whiskey or punch?
Wine all the way
Hot dogs, hamburgers, or tacos?
Boxers, briefs, or commando?
Panties for me, boxer briefs for him.
Cowboy boots, biker boots, or flip-flops?
Leather, lace, or silk?
All the above
Cake, cookies, or crumpets?
None of the above if I can help it.
Top, bottom, or against the wall?
Do I have to choose?
Biceps, abs, or buns?
Cats, dogs, or exotics?
Cats, dogs and exotics.
Any last words before we say goodbye?
Thank you for this opportunity to connect with the readers.
Don't Ask Don't Tell
August 8, 2018
Staff Sargent Elijah Jackson, EJ to his friends, joined the Air Force hoping for refuge from the mess his life had become. For almost ten years he enjoyed new life, success, and love, in spite of the closet he was forced to hide in by the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell military policy. One day it all comes crashing down around him. Now he’s back home with serious decisions to make and a very short time to decide how to salvage his life while healing his heart.
Betrayed by his lover and partner, Dr. Dale Chenault left California and his fledgling practice behind. In Sayville, he’s found a home for his counseling service, and on the surface, seems to have his life in order. The truth is some of the decisions Dale made have become a stumbling block in his ability to rebuild the breach in his heart and by extension, his life.
When Dale and EJ meet the chemistry between them is hot but the pain of past betrayals is strong, and trust seems impossible to build. Will they be able to move past what has been to create a future together?
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is a story of love, trust, betrayal and second chances with an HEA.
Miski Harris was born and raised in New York City with her younger brother and sister. She became and worked as a critical care nurse, served in the military, raised five amazing sons and traveled to other countries, sometimes, all at the same time. When Miski sets her mind to achieve something there is no force on earth that can stop her.
Through all the organized chaos that has often defined her life her one constant has been her love of books. Reading has always been a mainstay in her life and she is rarely seen without her Nook on which she has reportedly downloaded over 2,000 books. A woman of boundless imagination, she has always desired to give life to the characters who maintained residence in her imagination. With that in mind, she has finally put pen in hand to fulfill a lifelong desire to write books of her own.
Ask anyone who knows Miski to use one word to describe her and they would say fierce. A prior military commander once defined her as a “tender warrior”. Friends, patients, and associates have always found a strong advocate in this woman who is not afraid to speak her mind.
Miski believes three things: challenge is just another word to define worlds to conquer and lines to cross; love and faith are the most powerful forces in the universe, and the only thing that hinders success is to fail to try. With that in mind, she invites you to join her in a world where love is second to nothing and life is the greatest adventure of all.